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Dog having seizures.

Species: Dog
Breed: Pug
Age: 2-5 years
Hi Dr. Marie, My regular vet left to go on holiday today and after calling the office, they did not give me much helpful information. My pug Frazier, four years old has been on phenobarb for seizures for almost one year (Feb). He was doing fine on 1/2 mg every 10 hours. Last night he started having seizures about every 4 the past my vet has said I can give him an extra dose....this did not seem to help. When it got to the point that he started to have one within an hour of the other, I gave him a valium that the emergency clinic had given me when he was first diagnosed. He has been comfortable since 7am now. It is now 10:35. The valium was 5mg he weighs 20lb. He also got a dose of the 1/2 mg phenobarb. I gave both crush in water rectal thirty minutes apart. I am very worried. I do not think the staff relayed that Frazier was having them every 4 hours all of a sudden because they said as the vet was leaving he said tell her she can try giving an extra dose. I am worried about overdosing him. He had his regular dose then because of a seizure I gave him a dose 3 1/2 hours later and then waited 8 hours before giving another dose which is when I had to give him the valium because the seizures were very strong. He is resting well right now and is alert. I want to try and not give aother dose for 8- 10 hours. What should I do? Thanks for any help. Alison

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Alison,

I've put the second part of your question here to keep it all in one place:

Hi again Dr, Marie, this in regards to Frazier's seizures. I did not mean mg when referring to his dose. I'm sure you realized that. He is on 1/2 grain phenobarb every 10 hours. About three months ago he was on 1/2 grain at 8am then six hours later at 2pm I was told to give him 1/4 grain tab and then 6 hours later 8pm go back to another 1/2 grain. Then start dose of 1/2 grain again at 8 am. This schedule worked for about three months then had to be changed. He had been doing fine on 1/2 grain only every 10 hours. He would have a mild seizure about once a month while on this schedule but never real bad and was fine the next day until last night.Thanks for your help. Alison


I'm sorry to hear that Frazier is having problems with seizures. It's always tough to advise what to do when a dog with a history of seizures is having them more frequently.

Giving an extra dose of phenobarbital is not likely to do much. When we increase a dog's phenobarb dose, it takes a couple of weeks for the increased dose to be effective. So, giving an increased (or more frequent) dose here and there is not going to help.

Valium is something that can work quicker to help stop seizures. But it is a very short term measure.

I can't legally discuss medication dosages online but I can tell you that you are not likely to be overdosing him with what you are giving.

If he continues to have seizures, however, he will need to see a vet. If your vet is not available you may have to have him seen by an emergency vet.

One thing that they will likely do is take a blood sample to determine what his phenobarb level is. If it is too low then they will likely increase the dose that he gets regularly. They may prescribe some valium to give regularly in the short term. But valium is something that doesn't last for very long.

If the seizures have stopped for today then you can likely wait for a day or longer if necessary before seeing the vet. I still would recommend getting the phenobarbital levels checked at some point though. If the seizures continue though I wouldn't recommend playing around with the valium dose. Instead, I would recommend seeing an emergency vet. It is much better to see them sooner rather than later. If we wait too long, the seizures can get worse and worse and we can be at risk for something called status epilepticus which is an emergency situation where seizures are not ending.

I hope this has helped, but if you have more questions, let me know.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.